A pair of award shows display an impressively tone deaf approach to women, Scott Morrison’s evolving views on preselection, and who is going to take over as media editor at the Oz?

From the Crikey grapevine, the latest tips and rumours…

Clean up your AACTA. The Australian Academy of Cinema and Television Arts had their annual awards on Monday, and their Twitter feed made some interesting choices for an organisation wrestling (as so many are) with how it treats women. See if you can pick a subtle difference between the descriptions of the following three actors as they walked the red carpet:

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Yep: Melina Vidler is stunning; Sarah Wiseman is gorgeous; Simon Baker is … present, on the red carpet at the AACTAs. Curious wording which made us wonder, what on earth is happening over at AACTA headquarters?

You may have missed it, given the paucity of reporting, but a few weeks after he stood down as their president, the AACTA’s board sent Geoffrey Rush an obsequious apology, essentially begging their “prez” to come back and wishing him luck extracting a fortune out of a newspaper.

Quick reminder: Rush had stood down in early December 2017 because of sexual harassment allegations against him in the Daily Telegraph and an ongoing defamation case launched against The Daily Telegraph for reporting them. As AACTA board member Anita Jacoby — who refused to put her name to the letter — wrote in response, Rush’s resignation came at the request of the board, who “all agreed with Geoffrey’s choice of action” and in the three weeks since, nothing had materially changed. 

A total footballs up. While we’re on the subject of tone deaf idiocy towards women at an awards show: this year, the magazine behind the Ballon d’Or — widely considered football’s highest individual honour — belatedly created an award for the best female player.

Ada Hegeberg, a 23-year-old Norwegian striker with a goal scoring record that would make Lionel Messi cry — she has 107 goals in 82 games for her current club, a strike-rate that puts her slightly ahead of Pele — was named inaugural winner of the Ballon d’Or Feminin. Just minutes later, she was asked by host Martin Solveig whether she could twerk.

Just as AACTA’s tweets are made worse by the context, Solveig’s jocular misogyny comes in the midst of a growing feeling that sport in general (and football in particular) has failed to join the Me Too moment. Hegeberg’s response, and the second of audience reaction that follows, says it all.

All preselection candidates are equal, but some are more equal than others. Finding it hard to follow Scott Morrison’s position on party preselections? Yep, we are too.

Morrison didn’t lift a finger to save female MPs like Jane Prentice, or Ann Sudmalis, when they lost preselection against male challengers. He did nothing in response to complaints by Lucy Gichuhi and Julia Banks about bullying. He couldn’t even bring himself to pick up the phone to Banks after she resigned from the party in disgust. But he drops everything to save far-right climate denialist Craig Kelly. Go figure.

The irony of course is that Morrison himself only has his seat because of a NSW party HQ intervention that ousted Michael Towke, who won preselection ahead of the 2007 election fair and square but was dumped following a smear campaign against him. When Prentice was knifed earlier this year, Morrison was gung-ho for party democracy. “Our party operates on the basis of rank-and-file preselections of party members here in Queensland, and it’s Queenslanders who are deciding who are representing us here in Queensland, not Canberra,” he said at the time.

But party democracy’s no good if far-right MPs threaten to throw the toys out of the pram. And now another far-right failure, Jim Molan, is demanding the same special treatment as Kelly, having come a distant third in the contest for the NSW Liberal senate ticket. Like Morrison, Molan professes to be a fan of party democracy, right up until it delivers a result he doesn’t like.

Red tweet for the base. Is Twitter going to shut down Senator Fraser “Oswald Mosley” Annings’ Twitter feed? That’s what we hear, and with contributions like the following, it’s really not difficult to imagine why:

Watch this space.

Is Qantas keeping mum? Ms Tips received word that Qantas is telling pregnant staff members in the corporate head office that their roles won’t be covered while they’re on maternity leave, as a part of new cost cutting measures. Our tipster felt this went against the company’s ostensible commitment to diversity. “How does this help with diversity when pregnant women are basically being told that they’re roles are redundant the moment they go on leave!” 

A Qantas spokesperson was adamant they were fulfilling their legal requirements: “Anyone taking parental leave from Qantas has the right to return to the same or other suitable role when their leave is finished and Qantas has the very high rate of parents returning to work of 96%,” they said.

Brook-ing no argument. So we’ve heard that once Stephen Brook’ leaves his role as media editor at The Australian, the frontrunner to replace him is none other than Aaron Patrick of The Australian Financial Review. Our tipster said Patrick had been approached and that he was considering it. We got in contact to ask him if he had a new gig, but Patrick politely declined to comment. 

Heard anything that might interest Crikey? Send your tips to boss@crikey.com.au, use our guaranteed anonymous form or other ways to leak to us securely.

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Peter Fray
Peter Fray
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